, Volume 64, Issue 2, pp 201-205
Date: 31 Oct 2007

Paediatric clinical pharmacology—at the beginning of a new era

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The lack of availability of medicines for children is a large problem. This problem is global. It concerns all children of the world, those in the developing world but also those in the developed world, even in the richest countries. Many generations of paediatricians and other physicians have learned to live with the situation, where more than half of the children are prescribed off-label or unlicensed medicines. However, there is no doubt that medicinal products used to treat the paediatric population should be subjected to ethical research of high quality and be appropriately authorised for use in the paediatric population. Within the last 10 years, the pioneering paediatric initiative in the United States and recent encouraging developments in Europe and at the WHO indicate that change may finally be possible. The developments of the last 2 years have been particularly intensive. It seems that a new era is beginning which will provide unprecedented opportunities but also great challenges for paediatric clinical pharmacologists and other stakeholders working to provide children with the medicines they need.